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Mineralava Dolls!

Never did I ever imagine that I would be able to own these dolls! I wonder how many of these dolls still exist?

These boudoir dolls were created by the sculptor, Helene Sardeau, in 1923, for the Valentinos. Rudolph Valentino and his wife, Natacha Rambova, toured the United States, dancing the Tango, for the cosmetic company, Mineralava. Mineralava held a beauty contest, and these dolls were given to the winners. I do not know if the winners were given both the dolls and a silver cup trophy or if they changed from the dolls to the trophy, however, these dolls were made in limited quantity. I believe only 80 pairs were made.

The Rudolph Valentino doll is missing his hat. His waist scarf is tagged "Sardeau's Dolls, Reg US Pat. Office." The Natacha Rambova doll is missing her shawl. The heads are heavier than I expected. From the old newspaper photo, I had thought their hands were also made of plaster, but they're cloth.

This is the cover of the Mineralava booklet


  1. These dolls are really wonderful and never seen before. Thanks for sharing! Your boudoir dolls are all top quality, did you ever think to open a doll museum?

  2. Thank you! I think the blog and web site serve as a museum. The nice thing is they reach a whole lot more people. I appreciate your comment and hope to continue blogging the dolls.


  3. Where in the world did you find these? I've been dreaming about them since I read AFFAIRS VALENTINO. I am not a collector, but I do live in an old house in Hollywood, and I'd like to get a few dolls relating to my house. Unfortunately, I missed that recent auction in April at Th-- (can't recall the name, but you bought some dolls there). At that auction, there was a Ruth Elder doll dressed in an aviator outfit. I am so bummed that I missed her because she used to live at my house. :(
    Do you know the one I'm talking about? Do you think I would ever find another one? Thanks for maintaining this beautiful site! Not sure how to post with my name, but it's Karen...

  4. Karen,

    I got these dolls at the Thierault's auction. Yes, I do remember the aviator doll at the auction. Very unusual. There was, recently, an aviator doll on eBay. She was different from the wax one that was at Thierault's. They're not a common doll so it will be a challenge. But, I never thought I'd run across the Mineralava dolls either so don't give up!


  5. Linda,

    AHAH! These were mislabled in the catalog, no? They were listed as the dolls from Blood and Sand, I think. You got a very good deal... I wonder if you were the only one who noticed the mistake... I'm still so bummed that I missed the Ruth Elder doll. I may get over it someday! That was an amazing collection at Thierault's. So beautiful! I'm guessing somebody's life's work. Sort of sad in a way. Collecting is an important activity, but so often the collection is sold off by the estate (read family). Dunno if that's what happened here. Since you are such an astute Rudy collector, have you ever seen a "Valentino Home Shrine"? A little picture of Rudy with a candle? :D I read about that in the same book... If you ever decide to sell Rudy and Natasha, I'll be waiting -- just like a spider! Thanks so much!


  6. Yes, they were described at the auction as Valentino and Lila Lee from Blood and Sand.

    If the owner of the Ruth Elder doll reads your comments here on this blog, maybe they'll keep you in mind if they ever decide to sell it. You never know!

    I've had a couple of people contact me about selling these dolls. Some day, maybe, but for now, they've taken up residence with me.



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